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Whether or not they want to admit it, the characters of Rick and Morty are desperate for some kind of connection, and in an episode that sometimes feels like it’s retreading on previous iterations, we see the extremes of seeking out and pushing away that connection.
Morty still craves normalcy and has already proven that he’ll go to extreme lengths to get it, and he barely knows how to interact with people his own age after countless adventures with Rick. Beth and Jerry can’t stand each other, but even a season-long separation brought them back together because the alternative seemed even less desirable. (Jerry also has a knack for fucking up even worse to show that he’s capable of not fucking up.) Summer just wants to be part of something. And Rick is slow to let people in but often self-sabotages himself the minute he begins to open up.
All of that is on display in “The Old Man and the Seat,” which separates Rick and Morty as the latter goes on a “solo mission”—which is a big euphemism for heading to a secluded planet to poop in peace. That leaves Morty at home to fend for himself and continually turn down a request by Rick’s intern Glootie (Taika Waititi) to develop an app. (Along with Rick’s instructions to not develop an app with Glootie, the alien literally has “DO NOT DEVELOP MY APP” tattooed on his forehead.)
Jerry, of course, didn’t listen to Rick or Glootie’s tattoo and helps Glootie develop the app because he wants to see Glootie’s idea succeed. And it does, beyond Jerry’s wildest dreams: it’s a dating app called Lovefinderrz that matches people with their soulmates. (Yes, Jerry came up with the name.) The connection is instant, causing mass chaos, people to abandon otherwise stable relationships on a whim to feed that connection, and a recurring bit where a baby is left on a table in the middle of a mall food court.
Beth and Morty both see the disaster the app could be, albeit for different reasons. Beth doesn’t want Summer to head off with someone she literally just met while Morty has an incredibly bad feeling that there had to be some reason why Rick insisted that Glootie shouldn’t be allowed to develop an app. And there is: Glootie’s species use the app as a distraction on whatever planet they’re targeting so that they can take all of that planet’s water, of which there is a finite supply.
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Meanwhile, Rick discovers that someone has entered his private sanctuary and used his toilet, leading him to go on a one-man rampage to get to the bottom of it. That leads him to Tony (Jeffrey Wright), who uses his dead wife to appeal to Rick for sympathy and, despite promising not to use Rick’s toilet again after Rick threatens to kill him, promptly uses it. The second time, Rick places Tony in a tube that allows him to live out his mundane fantasy, which is a heaven full of toilets.
But the illusion shatters eventually, both with a whimper and a grim turn. With a last-minute change of heart, Glootie figures out a way to kill Lovefinderrz: place pop-up ads on it, which causes everyone to delete the app. Rick eventually checks up on Tony but finds out that Tony quit his job, and soon after, died skiing down Space Mount Everest. (But apparently, The Beverly Hillbillies didn’t cross over to space, so Rick’s callback to it falls flat.)
Even when everything settles down, everyone is still wary about forging their own connections. Beth and Jerry have a chance to be honest about whether they used the app. They both did—Jerry didn’t have a soulmate come up at all while Beth’s was Ted Danson—but they choose the simple lie instead; they’d rather be stuck with each other than try to find actual happiness. In a brief post-credits scene, Jerry tastes a bit of the drug Tony was submerged in, which shows him receiving praise for completing a mundane task; his response is to consume all of it that he can.
Rick, who built his own personal toilet, now sits on it alone as his own recording originally meant to mock Tony insults him instead. And every single word of it lingers.
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Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.